Thursday, October 24, 2019
Comparing Albert Camus The Stranger and Virginia Woolfs To the Lighth
Man's Place in Society and Nature in Albert Camus' The Stranger and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse A general premise underlying the art of writing is that "language shapes and is shaped by the surrounding society" (McCarthy 41). Authors of an age attempt to effect a message through their writing, and inevitably this telegram to society reflects the temperament of the writer in reaction to his environment and historical context . In this light, Albert Camus' The Stranger (1942) and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse (1927) are products of two separate cultures in an overlapping time period; Camus' sparse minimalistic prose and Woolf's lyrical, indulgent discourse represent two different stylistic approaches to a similar theme. The French existentialist and the English feminist distinctly manipulate the narrative structure and employ symbols and metaphors of nature to suggest the depersonalization and secondary importance of the individual in a society essentially incompatible with and indifferent to man. In particular, two excerpts from Camus and Woolf offer a wealth of stylistic devices in connection with their intended themes. From The Stranger, the chosen passage tells of the main character's (Meursalt) confrontation with a threatening Arab and his resulting murder. The selection from To the Lighthouse describes the general passage of time, using a more poetic manner with its emphasis on description over plot. Reform in the world correlates with reform in its literature's method of expression; an understanding of Camus' and Woolf's contemporary social backdrop provides insight into the origin and purpose of their works. Born in Algeria in 1913, Albert Camus grew up in a tough, working-class Algiers district and ... ...tranger. 1942. New Jersey: Penguin, 1955. pp 57-60. Cruickshank, John. Albert Camus and the Literature of Revolt. Oxford University Press, Inc. 1960. 249. Dyson, Ae, and Morris Beja, eds. To the Lighthouse. London: Macmillan, 1970. pp 19, 198. Gorsky, Susan. Virginia Woolf. Boston: Twayne, 1978. pp 15, 28, 49, 105, 108. King, Adele. Camus. Oliver and Boyd Ltd. 1964. 120. McCarthy, Patrick. The Stranger. University of Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Seltzer J., Alvin. "The Tension of Stalemate: Art and Chaos in Virginia Woolf's ' To the Lighthouse.'" Chaos in the Novel: The Novel in Chaos. Schocken Books, 1974. pp 120-140. Sprague, Claire. Virginia Woolf: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. pp 1-13. Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. 1927. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1951. pp 131-133.